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Jerusalem Church Leaders Speak on Easter

“So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes.”
This is the voice of the patriarchs and heads of local churches in Jerusalem as they spoke on Easter.
Below is a copy of their Easter message:

* * *

Sisters and brothers here and in all the world, we greet you in the name of our Risen Lord and ask God to fill you with the joy and the strength of the resurrection.

Having opposed early Christians and, indeed, sought to bring many of them to trial for their faith, St. Paul was suddenly challenged by our Blessed Lord as he journeyed to Damascus. Within a short time he became a powerful messenger for Jesus. Reading his various epistles we see he has much to say on many aspects of the Christian faith.

The statement he sets before the Philippians is regarded by many people as the most powerful: "All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings."

In this short sentence he links the cross and the Resurrection. The sufferings he had to face for his faith lead him to become conscious of the power of the Resurrection given to those who truly believe, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yet again, recent months have shown us much of the hardships and sufferings people have to endure, not least in this land. Much of this burden has arisen from man's inhumanity to men together with the deprivation of basic human dignity and rights, all caused by the siege imposed upon us.

Our Blessed Lord challenges all of us; if we are to be his disciples we must take up our cross and follow him. In the midst of sufferings, we reach for the power of the Resurrection and the power of the Spirit that enables us to take away the oppressions that are imposed upon us.

So, as we celebrate the joy of Easter we must examine carefully where we stand in relation to God. Many of us need to abandon the selfish instinct within us. If we truly seek the power of the Resurrection in our lives, then we must disregard any idea we might have of self-sufficiency or worldly hopes that hide from our eyes the things of heaven and of the Spirit.

If we believe in the Resurrection, we must affirm that our security is with God and in the power of the Resurrection. Again St. Paul reminds us when writing to the Corinthians: "But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Despite our weakness and despite the unjust circumstances imposed upon us, the power of God can free us if we come to understand the logic of the Spirit in us and if we behave accordingly.

On the first Good Friday, the disciples of Jesus doubtlessly felt shattered. However, gradually their faith was restored as they became conscious of their Risen Lord. Their own personal darkness of fear and uncertainty was suddenly illuminated by the light of Jesus' resurrection.

So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes. We search for the light that comes from God, illuminates all creation, guides every true believer in his search to find God's freedom for all, together with his peace and justice.

As we greet our sisters and brothers across the world, we wish them the joy of Easter and the power of the Risen Lord in their daily lives. While conscious of the care and concern shown by many of you, we again ask for your particular prayers for this land, that God will guide all its governors and show them the path of justice and equality among all.

Pray for the newly formed Unity Government of the Palestinians together with the Israeli Government and the Arab Initiative, to work to remove fear and all oppression, the walls, the barriers and the prisons, so that hearts become full of trust and all can enjoy the same freedom and the same dignity.

Then we would ask that you make a particular effort to encourage your particular nation to stop the embargo imposed upon us and to restore its aid to the Palestinians. Many vital areas of community are in a desperate plight as a result of the withholding of this aid, not least [among them, areas of] justice, economy, medicine and education, etc. …

As all Christians across the world celebrate Easter together we wish everyone, at home and abroad, that joy which our Blessed Lord's resurrection brings. We ask God to bestow upon all the joy and the power of the resurrection so that the words of Jesus become real as he said: "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
May you experience a happy and holy Easter!

Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem

Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem
Patriarch Michel Sabbah, R.C. Latin
Patriarch Torkom I Manooghian, Armenian Orthodox

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land
Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox
Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian-Orthodox
Archbishop Abouna Mattias, Ethiopian Orthodox

Archbishop Paul Sayyah, Maronite
Bishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican
Bishop Munib Younan, Lutheran

Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian-Catholic
Archbishop Georges Michel Bakar, Greek Catholic
Father Rafael Minassian, Armenian Catholic


 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

JANUARY 1
MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
Today we begin our new year at the Eucharistic Celebration. We thank God for Mary, Jesus' mother, who brought the Savior into the world. Because she is the mother of Jesus, God's Son, she truly is the Mother of God.

JANUARY 2
ST. BASIL AND ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN
Sts. Basil and Gregory were born in Asia Minor in the year 330. This area is modern-day Turkey. Basil's grandmother, father, mother, two brothers and a sister are all saints.

JANUARY 3
ST. GENEVIEVE
St. Genevieve was born around 422 in Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris. While still very young, she desired to devote her life to Jesus.

JANUARY 4
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
St. Elizabeth was called "Mother Seton" by everyone knew her by when she died on January 4, 1821, in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

JANUARY 5
ST. JOHN NEUMANN
St. John Neumann was not only quiet, he was short-five feet, two inches tall. His eyes were very kind and he smiled a lot.

JANUARY 6
BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE
St. Alfred Bessette was born on August 9, 1845, not far from Montreal, Canada. He was the eighth of twelve children.

JANUARY 7
ST. RAYMOND OF PENYAFORT

St. Raymond was born between 1175 and 1180 in a little town near Barcelona, Spain. He was educated at the cathedral school in Barcelona and became a priest. .

JANUARY 8
ST. THORFINN

St. Thorfinn's life were discovered in details long after his death. He died in 1285, in a monastery in Belgium. Fifty years later, his tomb was accidentally opened during some construction work.

JANUARY 9
ST. JULIAN AND ST. BASILISSA

St. Julian and St. Basilissa were husband and wife. They lived in the early part of the fourth century.

JANUARY 10
ST. WILLIAM

St. William came from a wealthy French family. Even as a boy, he did not waste time fooling around or being idle.

JANUARY 11
ST. THEODOSIUS

St. Theodosius was born in Asia Minor in 423. As a young man, he set out on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

JANUARY 12
ST. MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS

St. Marguerite was born in Troyes, France, on April 17, 1620, but spent most of her eighty years in Montreal, Canada.

JANUARY 13
ST. HILLARY OF POITIERS

St. Hilary was born into a pagan family on 315 in Poitiers, a town in France. His family was rich and well-known. Hilary received a good education.

JANUARY 14
ST. MACRINA

St. Macrina and her husband learned the high price of being true to their Christian beliefs.

JANUARY 15
ST. PAUL THE HERMIT

St. Paul was born into a Christian family in the year 229. They lived in Thebes, Egypt. Paul's parents showed him by their own lives how to love God and worship him with one's whole heart. Paul

JANUARY 16
ST. BERARD AND COMPANIONS

Six Franciscan friars accepted from St. Francis of Assisi an assignment to go to Morocco. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims.

JANUARY 17
ST. ANTHONY OF EGYPT

St. Anthony was born in 251 in a small village in Egypt. When he was twenty years old, his parents died. They left him a large estate and placed him in charge of the care of his young sister.

JANUARY 18
BLESSED CHRISTINA

Blessed Christina lived in the sixteenth century. She was born in Abruzzi, Italy. Her baptismal name was Matthia. As she grew up, Matthia felt the call to a life of prayer and penance.

JANUARY 19
ST. CANUTE

St. Canute was a strong, wise king of Denmark. He lived in the eleventh century. Canute was a great athlete, an expert horseman, and a marvelous general.

JANUARY 20
ST. FABIAN AND ST. SEBASTIAN

St. Fabian was a pope who died a martyr in 250. It was during the persecution by Emperor Decius.

JANUARY 21
ST. AGNES

St. Agnes was a Roman girl who died in 304. She was just twelve years old when she suffered martyrdom for her faith.

JANUARY 22
ST. VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA

St. Vincent was martyred in Spain in 304. This was the same year that Agnes was martyred in Rome.

JANUARY 23
ST. JOHN THE ALMSGIVER

St. John was a dedicated Christian nobleman. He used his wealth and position to help poor people. After his wife passed away, John became a priest and bishop. In 608, he was consecrated the patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt.

JANUARY 24
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

St. Francis was born at the de Sales castle in Savoy, France, on August 21, 1567. His wealthy family provided him with an excellent education. By the age of twenty-four, Francis was a Doctor of Law.

JANUARY 25
CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

St. Paul lived at the time of Jesus but as far as we know they never met. Paul was first called Saul. As a young man, he was a very bright student of the Hebrew religion.

JANUARY 26
ST. TIMOTHY AND ST. TITUS

St. Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother was a Jew and his father was a Gentile.

JANUARY 27
ST. ANGELA MERICI

St. Angela was born in the small Italian town of Desenzano, Italy, around 1474. Her parents died when she was ten. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other very much.

JANUARY 28
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

St. Thomas lived in the thirteenth century. He was the son of a noble family of Italy. He was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.

JANUARY 29
ST. GILDAS

St. Gildas was born around the year 500 in Britain. He set out as a young man to practice a self-sacrificing lifestyle.

JANUARY 30
ST. BATHILDIS

St. Bathildis was a frightened, Christian English girl could have never imagined what her future would be like.

JANUARY 31
ST. JOHN BOSCO

St. John Bosco was born in Turin, Italy, on August 16, 1815. His parents were poor farmers. When John was two, his father died. John's mother struggled to keep the family together.

 
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SAINT GABRIEL

St. Gabriel Prayer

SAINT RAPHAEL

St. Raphael Prayer
 
PHOTO OF THE MONTH


Tour of the Relics of the Passion
(International Center for Holy Relics)
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REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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